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$50,000 Lester Group Prize

Artist: Antoinette Barbouttis

  Title: Alexandra

  Subject: Alexandra Liveris

 Medium: charcoal on paper

Size: 132 x 130 cm

Judges’ Comments: 

Joanna Gilmour
"I was drawn to the artist’s work first and foremost as a beguiling and effecting portrait. It’s simultaneously powerful and gentle, and demonstrates a palpable connection between artist and sitter, sitter and artist. On close looking, I was struck by the artist’s consummate handling of the medium, and the skill with which she has pushed the possibilities of charcoal without losing its qualities and its capacity for nuance of texture and tone. Having a weakness for drawings, I loved that the artist relished their medium without negating its inherent softness. Finally, the work was, for me, evocative of Pre-Raphaelite portraiture while remaining a striking and sensitive contemporary work."

Dr Stefano Carboni
"It caught me by surprise on many levels. First, from the distance, the near-photographic quality of the finished work. Secondly, the incredible technical ability and understanding of the medium in the use of charcoal to create wonderful Chiaroscuro effects and nuances in the drawing. But it is the progressive discovery of the deep connection of the artist with the subject that makes it a sure winner."

Mathew Lynn
"Contains a deeply convincing and intangible feeling for the sitter, identifying something essential. Technically masterful, but only as much as is absolutely necessary and no more. A haunting, almost breathing image, somehow conveying the paradox of the eternal and the fugitive."


Highly Commended Winners

Artist: Ruth Leigh

 Title: May Wokka Chapman

Subject: May Wokka Chapman

Medium: oil on canvas

Size: 92 x 90.5 cm

Judges’ Comments:

Joanna Gilmour
"I was struck immediately by the sitter’s penetrating gaze and the sense of her character conveyed in tones which evoke the landscape of her country. The artist’s work has a beautiful sculptural quality; and as a portrait is sensitive yet potent and memorable, characterized by great warmth and connection with the subject."

Dr Stefano Carboni
"Incredibly sensitive and careful portrait, it conveys beautifully the spirit of the subject, something I have experienced myself several times in my encounters with strong and proud Aboriginal women. This portrait has the power to speak directly to me. I like the Schiele-esque approach, the choice of colours, and the figure’s isolation and sense of three-dimensionality against the creamy background."

Mathew Lynn

"A simple, iconic and humorously unsparing image, with an interesting and unfussy combination of stains and direct marks."

Artist: Peter Wegner

 Title: Medicated man-portrait of G.D.

 Subject: Graeme Doyle

Medium: oil on canvas

Size: 45 x 45 cm

Judges’ Comments:

Joanna Gilmour

"I was really drawn to this work in that it captures something so intense on such a tiny scale – a small work, but monumental. I loved it for its referencing of Lucian Freud, and for the skill and confidence and painterliness of the handling of the medium."

Dr Stefano Carboni
"The small size of the painting is deceiving as it is a truly monumental work. The body of the subject, heavy and not entirely connected with reality, dominates the composition and strongly reminds of Lucien Freud’s approach to subject and colour. Another wonderful work from a wonderful artist."

Mathew Lynn
"A very sensitive portrait supported by a masterful display of painting, containing an alchemical sense of embodiment in the material itself."


$10,000 Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize Winner

As voted by the 2018 BSPP Finalists

Artist: Benjamin Aitken

 Title: Jack

 Subject: Jack Shaw

Medium: synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Size: 126 x 150 cm


$7,500 Baldock Family People's Choice Prize Winner

As voted by the public

Artist: Jaq Grantford

Title: Just an old drag queen

Subject: Ken Atherton (Tootsie)

Medium: oil on canvas

Size: 126 x 126 cm